DOs & DONTs for Singapore Local Customs, Culture, Traditions & Etiquette

The Singapore Flyer

Singapore is an island city off of southern Malaysia, between Malaysia and Indonesia, with a multicultural population of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian. Although the languages are Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil, almost everyone speaks English, and even the signs are in English as well. Singapore is one of the most magnificent cities in the world with Asian and European influences blending ancient cultures with a modern flare that has visitors flocking in from all over the world. Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world that it’s known as the playground for the wealthy, but it only looks opulent. Beyond the luxurious hotels, designer boutiques, and fine dining, there is shopping and beautiful hotels at affordable prices.

Singapore has multiple ethnic backgrounds and diverse cultures and religions, so they have certain customs and etiquette to follow. Here are some do’s and don’t’s to keep in mind when visiting;

Singapore Travel Don’ts:

– Do not show public displays of affection with your significant other, and always remain calm.
– Do not chew gum. It is banned in Singapore.
– Do not smoke in public.
– Do not touch someone’s head. It’s considered sacred.
– Do not tip. It is not customary in Singapore and is frowned upon.
– In the company of Malays or Muslims, do not eat, offer anything or shake hands with your left hand.
– Men and women traditionally do not shake hands, a bow and smile is sufficient.
– Do not point with your index finger at anyone, it’s considered rude.
– Never show the bottom of your feet since they’re considered dirty. So don’t pop your feet up when you’re sitting down.
– Do not talk about religion or politics.
– Do not eat or drink on any public transportation.
– It is customary to bring a small gift when invited to someone’s house or gathering, however, you must offer it upon departing.
– Also when gifting, do not bring alcohol or anything made of pigskin to a Malaysian or Muslim. And do not wrap it in white, blue, or black, since it is a mourning color. Also, always offer it with your right hand.
– Do not gift alcohol or anything made out of leather to an Indian, and offer it with your right hand as well.
– Do not gift flowers, handkerchiefs, or clocks to Chinese people. These gifts are related to death and funerals.
– If receiving a gift, do not accept it immediately to show that you’re not greedy. It is customary to accept it only when offered 2 or 3 times. And do not open it immediately.

Singapore Travel Dos:
– You may shake hands to greet someone with a slight bow, but not with the opposite sex for Malays.
– When addressing someone, do use the title of Mr., Mrs., or Miss, followed by the surname unless you’re invited to use their first name.
– Do remove your shoes when entering a mosque, temple, or someone’s home.
– Do flush the toilet or you may be fined if you don’t.
– Do leave a little food on your plate when you’re done eating.
– Do carry change in case you need to use any public restrooms.

Singapore is a very clean and safe place because of its strictly enforced rules. And with its customs and etiquette, it’s not only a learning experience, it is an amazing place to visit.

There is so much family-friendly entertainment and so much to do for all ages in this mega-metropolis that you’ll want to come back again. And the excellent transportation akes it convenient and easy to get around the city. Singapore is a small island with so much entertainment, some with admission fees and some are open to the public. Here are 10 of the top entertainment spots;

1. Marina Bay Sands

There is nothing like this luxurious and decadent style of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and possibly the world. This hotel offers 2,561 rooms, an ice-skating rink, 2 entertainment theaters, an art-science museum, evening entertainment, and the world’s most expensive casino. It also offers a 478-foot long infinity pool overlooking the city skyline. The various restaurants in the hotel offer cuisines that include Italian, Indian, French, and Japanese, to accommodate the different tastes of the world travelers. And if that wasn’t enough, other activities include a rooftop bar and an observation deck with spectacular views of Singapore and its sparkling lights. Although these features are for hotel guests, there are other things to do for visitors not staying there. Part of the Marina Bay Sands hotel is a huge mall with 300 shops, fine dining restaurants featuring top chefs, as well as casual eateries, cafes, bars, and nightclubs that are open to the public. You can get around the mall on a Sampan boat that will take you through the winding indoor canal to any shop or restaurant.

2. Orchard Road

Among the top entertainment places in Singapore is Orchard Park, a shopping hub hosting 22 malls and 6 department stores that avid shoppers or browsers will both enjoy. With high-end boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci, and Cartier, and many top-notch restaurants offering the best cuisines from around the world, it’s worth exploring during your Singapore visit. For anyone who likes to browse, there are various restaurants, food courts, 4 movie theaters, as well as an IMAX theater and a KTV karaoke. They also offer underground walkways between the malls for a more pleasurable experience from being outside in the hot sun. This mall is just one of many extravagantly designed malls in Singapore.

3. Universal Studios Singapore

Open daily – 9:00am – 6:00pm
Admission – SGD 77 per adult – 1 day pass with hotel pick-up

Universal Studios Singapore opened in 2010, is the first amusement park of this nature in Southeast Asia. This park offers major hit movies related shows and rides. And strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll see ‘movie stars’ such as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin. It’s also full of exciting roller coasters, indoor boat rides, and other rides, including; The Lost World based on 2 favorite films, Jurassic Park, and Waterworld, Shrek’s Far, Far Away, and Madagascar. You’ll also see Sci-Fi city with roller coasters and Ancient Egypt that features the ‘Revenge of the Mummy’ ride. These are just part of the features at Universal Studios, but they also have movie-themed restaurants and cafes that you don’t want to miss.

4. Jurong Bird Park

Open daily; 8:30am to 6:00pm
Admission starts from $32.38

This bird park has not only the most beautiful and rarest birds there is, but it also has almost every species as well. With over 5,000 birds from 400 species, this is Asia’s largest park spread across 20.2 hectares. Here you’ll see one of the world’s biggest walk-in aviaries with over 600 birds and a 30-meter high waterfall. Other attractions include the Penguin Coast with numerous flightless birds and a walk-in Lory Flight aviary with 15 beautiful Lory species that is the largest in the world. They also have the world’s most fabulous Flamingos just strutting around the Flamingo Lake. Part of this park includes 2 shows that will entertain you; the Kings Of The Skies show, and the High Flyers show, featuring hawks, eagles, and falcons showing off their movies.

5. Singapore Flyer

Admission: starts from $80
4-hour tour

The Singapore Flyer is the largest giant observation Ferris wheel in the world where you can see beyond the Singapore skyline, with views of Malaysia’s Strait of Indonesia. Flights are 30 minutes long and available from early in the morning till late at night so visitors can have the opportunity to view the city at different times of the day with various views of the city.

6. Gardens By The Bay

Open daily; 9:00am to 9:00pm
Admission; starts from $21.58 (includes hotel pick-up)

These magnificent gardens are beautiful and take you away from the busy streets and noisy crowds of the city. Some attractions include the Supertree Grove, designed with iconic futuristic structures, and the Cloud Forest Conservatory that has the tallest indoor waterfall in the world standing at 16 stories high. There’s also over 250,000 plants as well as waterways and impressive Super Trees. And as you enter the Flower Dome Conservatory you’ll experience diverse dry and cool climates resembling South Africa, southwestern Australia, the Mediterranean, Spain, Italy, and California.

7. Singapore Zoo

Admission: from $37.40 (tour only)
and from $52.51 (tour plus breakfast with the orangutans)

The Singapore Zoo is the first zoo that has enclosed cage-free habitats with wide open spaces for the animals to roam around. It’s also known as being the world’s best rainforest zoo with over 3,600 animals including meerkats, zebras, beautiful white tigers, kangaroos, a Komodo dragon, a family of chimpanzees, and many other animals. This zoo has one of the most outstanding orangutan-breeding in the world, where you’ll see baby and adult orangutans swinging around and eating bananas. There’s also a tour you can take in an open-air tram and see all the animals at a safe distance. And for a unique experience, there is a Breakfast With The Orangutans, where you have breakfast with a family of orangutans hanging around.

8. Little India and Arab Street

Open daily to the public

Part of the charm of Singapore is the diversity of its population with rich cultures, traditions, and tasty foods. Nothing shows it off better than Little India and the Arab Quarter. Little India is a colorful growing neighborhood with an aromatic spicy scent of incense in the air, and where you’ll see worshipers at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and shoppers strolling through the traditional markets purchasing beautiful silk saris.

The Arab Quarter is the heart of Singapore’s Muslim community, packed with restaurants, textile shops showing an array of vibrant batiks, and jewelry and antique shops. It’s also where you’ll find worshipers praying in the Sultan Mosque, decorated with intricately designed tiles.

9. Chinatown

Open daily

Chinatown is just like being in China, bringing the traditions, culture, food, bright red lanterns, and temples all in one spot. Although it’s very authentic and has a lot of Chinese influence, it’s also a progressive neighborhood with elegant bistros and trendy high-end boutiques. Chinatown is also home to a large community of Chinese immigrants honoring the generations of traditions of Chinese calligraphy and Chinese medicine.

10. Sentosa Island

Open daily
Prices differ for each park

Sentosa Island makes a perfect family day trip. From all the way’s to get to the island from the mainland, the cable car has the most scenic views. The island has many parks and activities but is best known for the beach. Some beach attractions include swimming with the dolphins at the Underwater World aquarium, strolling around the Sentosa Boardwalk, riding the waves at the Adventure Cove Waterpark, or just relaxing at the Siloso Beach and enjoying a day of kayaking, skim boarding, or play volleyball. If you’re feeling adventurous, head to the MegaZip Adventure Park for some zip lining. Other attractions include the S.E.A Aquarium, Mysterious Island, Trickeye Museum, and the Butterfly Park and the Insect Kingdom. There are also many restaurants and shops for the enthusiastic shopper.

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